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MOSCOW, Sept 16 (Reuters) - One of the architects ofRussia's chaotic transition to capitalism, Anatoly Chubais isbidding to remodel the economy once again with $10 billion instate cash to foster high-technology companies.
A stocky, ginger-haired economist, Chubais, 55, is stillwidely blamed in Russia for exacerbating the economic collapseof the early 1990s by allowing a small group of tycoons toenrich themselves in a wave of privatisations.
But he remains a hero for some economic liberals and Westerninvestors, and his reputation as a formidable manager hassecured him key posts in Russia's state-backed corporate giants.
He liberalised Russia's electricity market during a decadein charge of state power monopoly UES, and is now helping tospearhead President Dmitry Medvedev's modernisation drive ashead of the specially created nanotechnology firm Rosnano.
Born in Belarus into an army family, Chubais kicked off hispolitical career in Russia's second city of St Petersburg -- thehome town of many within the Russian elite, including PrimeMinister Vladimir Putin.
Chubais emerged at the forefront of Russia's reform movementunder Boris Yeltsin as one of a team of young intellectuals whocame to power of what they said in 1991 was a bankrupt state.
During Yeltsin's presidency, Chubais masterminded andoversaw the so-called "sale of the century", in which thousandsof state-run firms were sold off to a handful of oligarchs.
While some Western liberals credit the reforms with layingthe foundation of Russia's post-Soviet revival, critics sayChubais helped discredit democracy in Russia by leaving millionsin poverty while a few tycoons won fabulous fortunes.
Chubais led Yeltsin's successful election campaign in 1996and then helped run the country as Kremlin chief of staff whileYeltsin underwent heart bypass surgery.
He was made Russia's main negotiator with the InternationalMonetary Fund just before the 1998 economic crisis crippled theeconomy.
After the crash, he spent 10 years orchestrating theliberalisation of Russia's electricity sector as head of powermonopoly UES.
When UES ceased to exist in 2008, its assets sold or spunoff, Chubais was appointed to the helm of Rosnano, one ofseveral organisations created by former President Putin tojump-start investment in high-technology companies.
Rosnano, which involves technology that handles substancesat a nano level, or a scale of about one billionth of a metre,has received $10 billion from the state. (Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Hans Peters) (email@example.com; +7495-7751242)